Joyce White Vance Said The Mueller Report To GOP Idiots' Faces, And It Was LOVELY!
To be honest, we are not sure what the purpose of yesterday's hearing in the House Judiciary Committee was, except to start educating the American public on what the Mueller Report really says, since most Americans and most Republican members of Congress haven't read it. But there were good moments to be had, and John Dean using the GOP members of the committee as chew toys was just good old-fashioned Must See TV. But Wonkette will have another post on that today, this post is about a different thing.
Doug Collins, the committee's ranking Republican and congressman voted most likely to #GetCaughtTrying to make love to a tree stump in somebody else's backyard (in the poll we just conducted in our imagination), complained that the panel gathered was dumb and stupid, because if he wanted to hear the panelists' thoughts on the Mueller Report, he could just turn on the TV. Here is a two-second video of Collins yelping "I could catch your testimony on TV!" It's on a loop, so you can listen to it for the rest of your natural human life if you wanna.
And sure, maybe he had a point. John Dean goes on CNN, and two of the other panelists, former US attorneys Joyce White Vance and Barbara McQuade, are MSNBC legal analysts. We could see them on TV!
But if you missed Joyce White Vance's opening statement, which she in fact delivered on TV (C-SPAN!), you missed an opportunity to watch a brilliant woman take those morons to school on what's actually in the Mueller Report. If you've been playing hooky on reading the Obstruction of Justice volume of the document, allow Professor Vance to tell you the business:
Let me cut to the chase, because I am a law professor, so I'll start with some basic legal context.
You know, in case anybody in the room is a Republican who doesn't know things, OH HEY MATT GAETZ, ANY RUN-INS WITH THE LAW LATELY?
Vance explained that the rules of the road for prosecutors are that they are only to indict somebody if they can "obtain and sustain a conviction." In other words, if they're confident they'll win the case, and also win on appeal. She explained how the Mueller Report details each and every instance of possible obstruction of justice by Donald Trump, and how they square up with the three necessary elements to prove obstruction: "an obstructive act, a nexus between that act and an official proceeding, and corrupt intent." She noted the current DOJ policy that says you can't indict a sitting president, therefore Mueller chose not even to consider whether the extensive evidence he laid out constituted crimes.
Joyce White Vance, however, is not bound by that DOJ memo, and she can tell you super easy if Trump is a criminal, or in prosecutor-speak, if she would indict this case based on whether she could "obtain and sustain a conviction":
Based on my years of experience as a prosecutor, if I was assessing that evidence as to a person other than a sitting president, [...] the facts contained in that report would be sufficient to prove all of the elements necessary to charge multiple accounts of obstruction of justice.
The evidence is not equivocal, nor is the charging decision a close call. And I would be willing to personally indict the case and try the case. I would have confidence that the evidence would be sufficient to obtain a guilty verdict, and to win on appeal.
And what is that evidence? What is the crux of this matter, and why do the president's obvious crimes matter? Take it away, Professor, with the simplest two-sentence explanation of the Mueller Report we've seen so far:
There was an attack by a foreign country on our country and on our elections. And on multiple occasions the president tried to thwart [the investigation], curtail it, or end it completely, by removing [Robert] Mueller outright, or by interfering with his ability to gather evidence.
Then she gave examples, like the time Trump ordered his White House counsel Don McGahn to have Robert Mueller fired, and then later -- when news reports about that criminal order came out -- ordered McGahn to create a false record saying NUH UH the president did not commit that particular crime. (Read about it in the Mueller Report!)
And the time when Trump, thwarted by McGahn, decided maybe he could get Corey Lewandowski (a private citizen) to threaten then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions's job by leaning on Sessions to un-recuse himself from the investigation -- and then to kill with fire all the parts of the investigation that had to do with the 2016 election attack (you know, the election attack that bought Trump's way into office) and only focus on election attacks of the future. (Read about that in the Mueller Report too!)
In other words, Trump said DO NOT INVESTIGATE the actual attack on our nation that happened. And people are pissed off when we say his entire presidency gives aid and comfort to our enemies? Fuck you.
And then there were Trump's personal threats to Jeff Sessions, his dangling of pardons for the criminals who surrounded him like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, and SO MUCH MORE.
Seriously, have you read the Mueller Report? It is the hottest crime novel of the summer!
Joyce White Vance has read it, unlike those Republicans on the committee, and we know most Americans won't have time to read every single word, but that five minute opening statement you see above really tells the bare bones story every American needs to know.
If yesterday's hearing does nothing more than to expose some more Americans to those simple facts, then it was worth Congress's time.
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